Five questions answered on further job losses at AstraZeneca

UK pharma firm cuts a further 2,300 jobs globally.

UK pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has announced further job losses on top of the ones it announced at the beginning of the week. We answer five questions on the AstraZeneca job losses.

How many job losses has AstraZeneca announced this week?

On Monday the company announced around 2,300 job losses world wide - around 700 from the UK. Today it has announced a further 2,300 jobs will be lost globally.

Why is the company axing these jobs?

AstraZeneca is in the process of restructuring its business and has outlined a new strategy that has resulted in these job losses. One of the big aspects of its UK restructuring is closing down its London office and opening a new headquarters in Cambridge.

Research and development work will no longer be carried out at its Alderley Park, Cheshire facility, with approximately 1,600 roles being relocated to Cambridge.

How much is the company investing in Cambridge?

The company is investing £330m ($500m) to build a new headquarters in Cambridge and creating 2,000 jobs in the area.

What other problems do AstraZeneca face?

The company is struggling with a lack of drug developments in the pipeline and patents of blockbuster drugs that are due to expire.

Today it announced it will concentrate on developing drugs to combat respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity, heart disease and cancer treatments.

What has AstraZeneca said in regards to its new strategy?

In a press statement Chief Executive Officer, Pascal Soriot said: “We are making an unambiguous commitment to concentrate our efforts and resources on our priority growth platforms and our priority pipeline projects.

“As we focus, accelerate and transform our business we know that our success will ultimately be measured by the quality of execution. I’m confident that we have set out on the right path to return to growth and achieve scientific leadership, and I’m equally confident that our people possess the talent, determination and focus to deliver for patients as well as our shareholders.”

Photograph: Getty Images

Heidi Vella is a features writer for

Photo: Getty Images
Show Hide image

The buck doesn't stop with Grant Shapps - and probably shouldn't stop with Lord Feldman, either

The question of "who knew what, and when?" shouldn't stop with the Conservative peer.

If Grant Shapps’ enforced resignation as a minister was intended to draw a line under the Mark Clarke affair, it has had the reverse effect. Attention is now shifting to Lord Feldman, who was joint chair during Shapps’  tenure at the top of CCHQ.  It is not just the allegations of sexual harrassment, bullying, and extortion against Mark Clarke, but the question of who knew what, and when.

Although Shapps’ resignation letter says that “the buck” stops with him, his allies are privately furious at his de facto sacking, and they are pointing the finger at Feldman. They point out that not only was Feldman the senior partner on paper, but when the rewards for the unexpected election victory were handed out, it was Feldman who was held up as the key man, while Shapps was given what they see as a relatively lowly position in the Department for International Development.  Yet Feldman is still in post while Shapps was effectively forced out by David Cameron. Once again, says one, “the PM’s mates are protected, the rest of us shafted”.

As Simon Walters reports in this morning’s Mail on Sunday, the focus is turning onto Feldman, while Paul Goodman, the editor of the influential grassroots website ConservativeHome has piled further pressure on the peer by calling for him to go.

But even Feldman’s resignation is unlikely to be the end of the matter. Although the scope of the allegations against Clarke were unknown to many, questions about his behaviour were widespread, and fears about the conduct of elections in the party’s youth wing are also longstanding. Shortly after the 2010 election, Conservative student activists told me they’d cheered when Sadiq Khan defeated Clarke in Tooting, while a group of Conservative staffers were said to be part of the “Six per cent club” – they wanted a swing big enough for a Tory majority, but too small for Clarke to win his seat. The viciousness of Conservative Future’s internal elections is sufficiently well-known, meanwhile, to be a repeated refrain among defenders of the notoriously opaque democratic process in Labour Students, with supporters of a one member one vote system asked if they would risk elections as vicious as those in their Tory equivalent.

Just as it seems unlikely that Feldman remained ignorant of allegations against Clarke if Shapps knew, it feels untenable to argue that Clarke’s defeat could be cheered by both student Conservatives and Tory staffers and the unpleasantness of the party’s internal election sufficiently well-known by its opponents, without coming across the desk of Conservative politicians above even the chair of CCHQ’s paygrade.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.